Past Concert Seasons: 2014-2015

Marc-André Hamelin, Piano

Sunday, September 28, 2014 at 4:00 pm


John Field: Andante inédit
Hamelin: Chaconne
Debussy: Images, Book 11
Hamelin: Variations on a Theme by Paganini
Beethoven: Sonata (TBA)

Marc-André Hamelin is renowned for his fresh readings of the established repertoire and for his exploration of lesser known works of the 19th and 20th centuries. He is admired for his brilliant technique and for his deep-thinking approach to everything he plays. In recent seasons he has appeared as recitalist or as soloist with orchestras in such cities as New York, Chicago, Detroit, Boston, Portland, Quebec, Antwerp, Berlin, London, Melbourne, Rotterdam, and Milan among others. A prolific recording artist, Mr. Hamelin expects to record approximately 50 CDs for the Hyperion label performing neglected masterpieces by Alkan, Ives, Medtner and Roslavets as well as the music of Haydn, Mozart, Schumann, Brahms, and Chopin. In 2010 Mr. Hamelin joined the ranks on CD of noted composer-pianists by releasing his own 12 Etudes in all the minor keys on the Hyperion label with publication by Edition Peters.

Winner of the 1985 Carnegie Hall Competition, Marc-André Hamelin was born in Montreal. He began to play the piano at the age of five and by the age of nine had already won top prize in the Canadian Music Competition. His father, a pharmacist by trade who was also an excellent pianist, had introduced Marc-André to the works of Alkan, Medtner and Sorabji when he was still very young. Mr. Hamelin is featured in the book The Composer-Pianists: Hamelin and the Eight by Robert Rimm, published by Amadeus Press.

Brentano String Quartet

Sunday, October 26, 2014 at 4:00 pm


Mozart: Quartet in B flat major
Bartok: Quartet No. 3
Schubert: Quartet in D minor

The Quartet is named for Antonie Brentano, whom many scholars consider to be Beethoven’s “Immortal Beloved”, the intended recipient of his famous love confession. Formed in 1992, the Quartet soon received the first Cleveland Quartet Award and the Naumburg Chamber Music Award.

In addition to performing the entire two-century range of the standard quartet repertoire, the Brentano Quartet has a strong interest in both very old and very new music. It has performed many musical works pre-dating the string quartet as a medium, among them Madrigals of Gesualdo, Fantasias of Purcell, and secular vocal works of Josquin. Also, the quartet has worked closely with some of the most important composers of our time, among them Elliott Carter, Charles Wuorinen, Chou Wen-chung, Steven Mackey, Bruce Adolphe, and György Kurtág. The Quartet has commissioned works from Wuorinen, Adolphe, Mackey, David Horne and Gabriela Frank. The Quartet celebrated its tenth anniversary in 2002 by commissioning ten composers to write companion pieces for selections from Bach’s Art of Fugue, the result of which was an electrifying and wide-ranging single concert program. The Quartet has also worked with the celebrated poet Mark Strand, commissioning poetry from him to accompany works of Haydn and Webern.

In recent seasons the Quartet has traveled widely, appearing all over the United States and Canada, in Europe, Japan and Australia. It has performed in the world’s most prestigious venues, including Carnegie Hall and Alice Tully Hall in New York; the Library of Congress in Washington; the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam; the Konzerthaus in Vienna; Suntory Hall in Tokyo; and the Sydney Opera House. The Quartet has participated in summer festivals such as Aspen, the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, the Edinburgh Festival, the Kuhmo Festival in Finland, the Taos School of Music and the Caramoor Festival.

The Quartet has recorded the Opus 71 Quartets of Haydn, and has also recorded a Mozart disc for Aeon Records, consisting of the K. 464 Quartet and the K. 593 Quintet, with violist Hsin-Yun Huang. In the area of newer music, the Quartet has released a disc of the music of Steven Mackey on Albany Records, and has also recorded the music of Bruce Adolphe, Chou Wen-chung and Charles Wuorinen.

Empire Brass

Sunday, January 25, 2014 at 4:00 pm


Works by Byrd, Scarlatti, Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Gershwin, Bernstein, and Copland

The five musicians of the Quintet — all of whom have held leading positions with major American orchestras — perform over 100 concerts a year in cities such as New York, Boston, Chicago, Washington, London, Zurich and Tokyo. With their best-selling recordings on the Telarc label they have introduced an even larger audience worldwide to the excitement of brass music that ranges from Bach and Handel to jazz and Broadway. They are equally at home in the majestically antiphonal works that Gabrieli composed for St. Mark’s Cathedral in Venice and the exuberantly show stopping tunes that Richard Rodgers and Andrew Lloyd Webber wrote for Broadway. The Empire Brass is the first brass ensemble to win the prestigious Naumberg Chamber Music Award.

In addition to playing across the United States, the Empire Brass has toured the Far East thirteen times, and performs regularly in Europe. It has played to standing-room crowds in the former Soviet Union, where its concerts were broadcast on television. The ensemble has performed with major symphony orchestras such as the Chicago Symphony, Boston Symphony, the Philadelphia Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Toronto Symphony, Detroit Symphony, Cincinnati Symphony and Zurich’s Tönhalle Orchester. It regularly visits leading summer festivals including Ravinia, Tanglewood, Caramoor, Saratoga and Chautauqua.

On network television, the Empire Brass has been featured on CBS’s Good Morning America, NBC’s Today Show and Sunday Today and PBS’s Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood. It is a regular guest on commercial and public radio networks nationwide, performing on programs such as St. Paul Sunday Morning, Traditions and NPR’s Performance Today.

Opus One, Piano Quartet

Sunday, April 12, 2015 at 4:00 pm


Mozart: Piano Quartet No. 2 in E-Flat Major, K. 493
Chris Rogerson: Summer Night Music (2012)
Brahms: Piano Quartet No. 2 in A Major, Op. 26

The members of Opus One are veterans as well as present members of the world’s most prestigious chamber groups, including the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the Beaux Arts Trio, and the Orion and Guarneri String Quartets. As soloists as well as chamber musicians, they are familiar figures in concert halls throughout the world and have joined together to form one of the most exciting groups performing anywhere. Their dedication to the works of contemporary American composers is reflected in their programming, and the sheer, obvious joy they have in performing together communicates directly to their audiences.

Opus One is deeply committed to chamber music education. One of the innovative projects they have developed is workshops with amateurs as well as students. Concepts to help break down barriers include special concerts in which the members of Opus One collaborate with young musicians.

1998-99 marked the inaugural season of Opus One. The group made their debut on October 23, 1998, at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC. Subsequent seasons have included debuts in New York, Detroit, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, San Diego, Philadelphia, and Portland, Oregon. Their orchestral debut was with the Chattanooga Symphony, performing Beethoven’s Triple Concerto and a work written by Douglas Lowry especially for the group to perform with orchestra. Along with the Pittsburgh and Cleveland Chamber Music Societies, Opus One commissioned the composer Stephen Hartke to write a new quartet, “Beyond Words,” an emotional tribute to the victims of 9/11. The piece was premiered in December, 2001.